Jeremy Hunt admits ‘error’ after claiming mental health recruits total is 43 times higher than it is

Posted On: 
12th October 2017

Jeremy Hunt has admitted he was wrong to quote 30,000 as the number of NHS mental health recruits since the Tories came to power - after it was revealed the number totalled just 692.

The Department for Health has admitted the 30,000 figure was an "error"
PA Images

The Health Secretary twice read out the number in the Commons, which is in fact the figure for all professionally qualified clinical NHS staff in England since the Conservatives took over in 2010.

Addressing MPs on World Mental Health day, Mr Hunt said: “We’ve got 30,000 more people working in mental health today than we had when [Labour] left office.”

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He repeated this again, saying: “We have 30,000 more professionals working in mental health than when my Government came into office.”

When questioned on the figure by Channel 4 Fact Check, the Department for Health admitted an “error” had been made and that Hansard would be corrected.

The broadcaster included psychiatric doctors and mental health nurses, as well as all staff working in clinical psychology, psychotherapy, occupational therapy, multi-therapies and art, music and drama therapies in trying to reach a more accurate figure.

It found that in March of this year there were 79,985 full-time equivalent people working in those areas – compared to 79,293 when the coalition government came to power.

Shadow Cabinet Member for Mental Health and Social Care, Barbara Keeley told the Daily Mirror: "The Tory government claim to want to make mental health a priority, but Jeremy Hunt doesn't even know how many mental health staff are working in the NHS.

"Safe staffing was an issue raised by the CQC's new State of Care report this week. Labour will invest more in mental health so that all services are staffed safely."